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2013 African U-20 Championship: Young Pharaohs Preview

Egypt U-20 coach  named his 21-man squad last week for the U-20 Africa Cup of Nations that kicks-off in on March 16. The Young Pharaohs are likely to be one of the most experienced sides in the tournament with the likes of Saleh Gomaa, Rami Rabia and Ahmed Hassan ‘Koka’, who are all regulars with their respective clubs and already senior Egypt internationals under Bob Bradley.

The list only includes two European-based Pharaohs in PSV Eindhoven’s  Amir Adel (known as in Europe) and Koka, who coach Yassin confirms will only be available for the first two matches against Ghana and Algeria before returning to Rio Ave in Portugal. However, some highly rated European-based Pharaohs were left out of the squad for various reasons including Paris Saint-Germain and former France U-17 star  and Hoffenheim’s Rhami-Jasin Ghandour, who previously captained Germany’s U-16 national team.


The near two-metre tall striker Ahmed Hassan, who turned 20 last week, has been a revelation in Rio Ave’s attack since making his senior debut late in the season, scoring seven goals in his last nine games in all Portuguese competitions. Although the recent Egypt international will only be allowed to feature for the first two games, with Rio Ave naturally reluctant to release him for the African Youth Championship, Egypt will be looking towards Koka to reproduce his club form to help guide the Young Pharaohs past the ‘group of death’ and into the semi-finals; as a result, qualifying for the U-20 World Cup in Turkey this summer.

One of the main talents Egyptians will be excited to finally watch represent the Pharaohs at the tournament is Egyptian-Danish attacking midfielder Amir Adel, 18, better known as Alexander Jakobsen. The PSV youth star, who can also play as a winger on either flank, was labelled ‘Denmark’s Ronaldinho’ as a youngster. The Denmark-born trickster started his career at FC Copenhagen, where he scored 27 goals and assisted 41 in 37 games during the 2008-09 season.

Amir, son of former Al-Ahly and Egypt national team player Adel Ahmed told Al-Ahram on Wednesday: “I was offered spots in the Danish and the Dutch national teams earlier but I preferred to play with Egypt.”

ENPPI midfielder Saleh Gomaa also played with the U-23 Egyptian team in last year’s Olympics Games and has since been a regular senior Egypt international. Read KingFut’s Player Profile for more on Saleh Gomaa.

Al-Ahly’s versatile defender Rami Rabia is also likely to feature in the talented Egyptian midfield, after recently thriving as a defensive midfielder for Al-Ahly since captain Hossam Ghaly picked up an ACL injury during the Club World Cup in Japan. Rabia has scored three goals in his last four games in all competitions for both club and country including the only goal for Bob Bradley’s Egypt in last week’s 3-1 friendly loss in Qatar, where he played at right-back, and also against Group A leaders ENPPI in the Egyptian Premier League on Sunday.


Coach Rabie Yassin said he started preparations for the competition four years ago and his team is determined to qualify for the World Cup in Turkey, but realizes it will be a tough task to reach the semi-finals.

“It will be really tough to meet three powerful opponents in the ‘group of death’ – hosts Algeria, three-time winner Ghana and former winner who eliminated a strong Ghana side in the qualifiers,” Yassin told Al-Ahram on Wednesday.

“We won the trophy twice [1991 and 2003] and we will not be easy prey for our rivals despite our current difficult circumstances,” he added.

“I watched over 800 players. The squad cannot be better. We will depend on one striker, Omar Bassam of Ahly and support from good attacking midfielders Ahmed Samir (Dakhleya), Ahmed Refaat (ENPPI), Amir Adel and Saleh Gomaa,” Yassin said.


Goalkeepers: Mossad Awad (Ismaily), Mahmoud Hamdy (Zamalek), Hassan Mahmoud Arab Contractors).

Defenders: Sherif Adel ‘Dabo’, Ossama Ibrahim (ENPPI), Mahmoud Hamad (Ismaily), Ibrahim Hassan (Ahly), Yasser Ibrahim (Mansoura), Ibrahim El-Hadad (Wadi Degla).

Midfielders: Hossam Ghaly, Rami Rabia, Mahmoud Hassan ‘Trezeguet’ (Ahly), Saleh Gomaa, Ahmed Refaat, Mahmoud Abdel-Moneim ‘Kahraba’ (ENPPI), Mahmoud Metwaly, Mohamed Sherif  (Ismaily), Amir Adel ‘Alexander Jakobsen’ (PSV).

Strikers: Ahmed Hassan ‘Koka’ (Rio Ave), Omar Bassam (Ahly), Ahmed Samir (Dakhleya).

Follow @King_Fut on Twitter and Facebook for the latest on Egyptian football.

Co-Founder, Chief Technology & Content Officer of Goal with KingFut is to scout and promote Egyptian talent – both local and abroad – who don’t receive the credit and coverage they deserve. Graduated from the University of Toronto with a B.A.Sc in Electrical Engineering and have previously featured on BBC World Service, 5 Live, Chelsea TV & more.



  1. E.A

    March 13, 2013 at 9:27 PM


  2. E

    March 14, 2013 at 5:25 AM

    when is their first match going to be played !?!?!?

    • Adam Moustafa

      March 14, 2013 at 11:24 AM

      The first match is on Saturday (March 16) against Ghana.

  3. Simo

    March 14, 2013 at 9:40 AM

    I’m disappointed to hear that Yaisien and Ghandour were left out. Those were probably the two I was looking forward to seeing most, aside from Adel. What were the reasons for their exclusions?

    • Adam Moustafa

      March 14, 2013 at 11:28 AM

      Abdallah Yaisien’s agent tells us his Egyptian passport was ready (to complete the nationality switch) but he had to skip the tournament with a slight injury, and would rather have treatment at PSG. Although a source close to coach Rabie Yassin tells us this excuse is false. Rhami’s nationality switch hasn’t been completed, his father tells us this is partly the Egyptian FA’s fault.

  4. A

    March 14, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    Ahmed Hassan Koka and Alexander/Amir are very talented players!

  5. A

    March 14, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    Abdallah Yaisien!! Am so shocked! The reason we are sad isn’t that he will play for France. We are sad because he came to Egypt and we felt an Egyptian decent player in him. I remember his interview in Cairo, he reminded me of Mohamed Abou Treka!
    Why did he come in the first place? We thought he chose his blood.

    And about Ramy Ghandour his father is a very patriotic Egyptian and he insists that Ramy will play for the Pharaohs..but again paper work delayed his participation. Ramy has an excuse, Abdallah hasn’t!

  6. diaa omar

    March 26, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    guys from this webpage on the bottom right corner there is a box that says rami played 2 matches for Egypt 0-o check it…..

    • Adam Moustafa

      March 27, 2013 at 11:48 AM

      That’s true, but those games were only friendlies. Just like when Adam El-Abd was allowed to play friendlies before his passport was complete, but he couldn’t play in any official matches.

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